Axolotls are some of the strangest and most peculiar creatures on the planet.
They existed in two lakes in the Valley of Mexico, Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco, before Lake Chalco was drained completely as a flood control measure.
These strange little creatures have lived an isolated, peaceful existence for much of their evolutionary history within these lakes, however recent developments in Mexico City and the recent ideas of keeping these creatures as pets has led to a sudden surge of interest in them.
As such, we will be talking about the different types of Axolotls and talk about just what they are.
What Are Axolotls?
An Axolotl is actually just a type of Mexican salamander, very closely related to the Tiger Salamander.
What makes Axolotls unusual for salamanders is that they retain their larval form throughout their entire lives, being a paedomorphic creature.
This means that they remain fully aquatic, have feathery external gills, and lack the ability to walk on dry land.
Unlike other salamanders, Axolotls do not have lungs, but instead absorb oxygen directly through their external gills, which most salamanders lose in adulthood.
They have very poor eyesight and are slow swimmers, but in Lake Xochimilco, they don’t need to be quick or able.
Instead, sit waiting for insects, parasites, or worms to swim past, at which point they will clamp down with their jaw and suck them into their mouths. If food is scarce, they will move to another area and reset the trap.
Axolotls are used as a model organism for research in genetics, regeneration, and developmental biology, due to their incredible regenerative ability and genome.
The genome of the Axolotl is one of the largest of any animal and contains the genes necessary for complete limb regeneration.
Thanks to their size and fairly docile nature, Axolotls are also kept as pets or as attractions in aquariums.
This has actually helped the species in a way, as their native land’s development has caused them to become critically endangered in the wild.
Categories Of Axolotl
There are many different types of Axolotl, but there are also four different categories of Axolotl that all Axolotls fall under.
These are the common morphs, the Albino morphs, the uncommon morphs, and the rare morphs.
What these represent are how easy each color scheme for an Axolotl is easy to get a hold of.
Types Of Basic Axolotl
Basic Axolotls are the most common variety of Axolotls. They come in five basic colors and are the easiest for people to get their hands on:
These are the Axolotls that can be found in the wilds of Mexico itself.
They have a combination of green, black, and brown colors dotted all over their bodies, and occasionally they can also contain shiny gold flecks on their skin as well.
In the wild, this coloration gives them camouflage for predatory fish and birds, as well as from the prey that they eat.
Another peculiar aspect of these Axolotls color scheme is the gold ring around its eye.
The kind of Axolotl that most people are familiar with and one that is most popular among Axolotl owners.
The Leucistic (otherwise known as Lucy) is a pink and white Axolotl, with the body itself being white and the gills being pink.
Some people may mistake these Axolotls with Albino ones, but the difference is that these Axolotls have black eyes rather than pink or red ones, like the Albino Axolotls.
Speckled Leucistic Axolotls
These little guys are also referred to as ‘Dirty Lucys’, which refers to the spots on their head and back.
They look identical to the common Leucistic – white body and pink gills – except for these dark spots.
What these spots are is actually a holdover from the coloration of their wild ancestors.
The spots are identical to the Wild Axolotls coloration, and so it is an Axolotl that probably has both Leucistic and Wild ancestry.
This is further shown if these Axolotls are placed in dirty water, which makes the spots more prominent.
While, if they are in clean water, the spots will lessen, and they will appear more like Leucistic Axolotls.
Types Of Albino Axolotl
As with all creatures, Axolotls can be prone to Albinism, however it seems to be a lot more common among some Axolotls than other creatures.
Axanthic Albino Axolotls
An exceedingly rare breed that has absolutely no pigment in its body whatsoever.
Other types of Albino Axolotls will have some pigment, but not these, even if the eyes are completely white.
The White Axolotl resembles the Leucistic Axolotls in almost all ways except one.
The White Axolotls eyes are red or pink, whereas the Leucistic Axolotls eyes are black. They are not as rare as the Axanthic, but are still pretty rare.
These Axolotls look like White Axolotls when they are born, but they develop a golden or yellow tint to their bodies as they get older.
While their eyes can be pink, they are usually transparent, making the entire creature a seemingly golden statue that can move of its own accord.
To flip the script, these Axolotls are completely black all over and resemble a very dark Wild Axolotl up close.
Types Of Uncommon Axolotl
These are the uncommon varieties of Axolotls. While uncommon, they can still be found quite easily and are not as legendary as their rare counterparts:
There is only one uncommon Axolotl, and that is the Copper Axolotl. These are actually Albino Axolotls, like their White and Golden cousins.
However, instead of turning either of these colors, they begin turning into a tan color that eventually becomes copper.
Types Of Rare Axolotl
Finally, the types of Rare Axolotl. These types are generally legendary or near mythical in terms of population and distribution.
Not many people have even seen, let alone heard, of these kinds of Axolotl, but they are there.
These creatures are among the rarest of any creature, and they cannot be made through breeding or in lab environments. In essence, a Chimera Axolotl is two Axolotls in one.
They are formed when two eggs fuse together, with each egg becoming one side of an Axolotl.
Each with a different set of DNA and split down the middle along the animal’s back.
One side may be Leucistic, while the other might be Wild, with each part working together to move the body.
They look like a normal Axolotl, but will have different color schemes and movements along each side.
Formed like the Chimeras, but instead they will be mottled all over their bodies with different color schemes.
As before, this cannot be bred or reproduced and must happen naturally.
There are many different types of Axolotls out in the world today, and each one is unique in its own way.
However, even though there are many different color schemes and looks to the Axolotl, they are all the same creature.